(Copyright by WyoJones. All rights reserved. Used with permission.)
Why does anyone cross the galaxy? Why to get to the other side.
Of course, you know I went looking for chicken-crossing-the-road jokes and was actually surprised there were so many. Here’s some, modified for our galactic theme:
Q. Why did the chicken cross only halfway across the galaxy: A: She wanted to lay it on the warp line…
Q. Why did the monkey cross the galaxy? A: Because the chicken got refried…
Robert Frost: to take the wormhole less traveled…
Captain Kirk: To boldly go where no chicken has gone before…
Sir Isaac Newton: Chickens at rest tend to stay at rest. Chickens in the wormhole tend to cross the galaxy…
Albert Einstein: Whether the chicken crossed the galaxy or the galaxy crossed the chicken depends on your frame of reference…
Darth Vadar: because it wanted to go to the dark side…
I know, pretty lame. The thing is, chicken jokes and space travel have a lot in common.
They are about getting to the other side. Or the other planet. Or from point A to point B. And to accomplish it in a time frame that is a) reasonable; and b) believable.
The first truth of writing (and reading) about fictional space travel is that it is (mostly) made up. While this seems obvious, since we haven’t managed to get a human being further than the moon, there are those who want only “reality” in their fiction. (Personally, I’d like a little more fiction in my reality. I think it's past time we got transporters...)
From the time science fiction first appeared, authors have been making up ways for their characters to move through space and time. Some feel more “real” than others, but they all require us to suspend disbelief in order to take the ride with the story.
Some of my personal favorite types of fictional space travel are:
Warp Drives and wormholes (Star Trek)
Hyperdrives (Star Wars)
Infinite Improbability Drive (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy)
FTL - (Battlestar Galactica)
Tardis (Dr. Who)
Stargates (Stargate SG-1, etc)
Jump Gates/Jump Space (Lost Fleet, Dock Five)
In my own Project Enterprise novels, I use a mix of types, though I tend to focus more on the story than the science of getting around. I start from the point of: it just IS. The technology is there and now we’re off on an adventure, so that the hosing of my characters can commence.
When I went to mix some steampunk into my science fiction romance (Tangled in Time: Project Enterprise 3), I made the mistake of asking the scientist hubs if a concept I wanted to use sounded “real.” We ended up in this painful causality loop:
Hubs: But it’s not real.
Me: It’s fiction. Does it SOUND real?
Hubs: But it’s NOT real.
Me: It’s FICTION. I’m making it up.
Hubs: But it’s not real.
Me: You want my science FICTION to be real?
Hubs: Of course.
I left him with a puzzled expression, turning instead to a friend who is a physicist at NASA. I asked her the same question and her response was, “It’s fiction. It sounds fun. Go for it.”
I suspect your enjoyment of any science fiction romance novel will be predicated on how real the science is, and how real you like your fictional science.
In the end, the means aren’t as important as the fact that the chicken (or the characters) do get to the other side—or where they need to go.
Why (and how) does your chicken cross the galaxy? And while you're figuring that out, don't forget to hop over and check out the category that the SFR Brigade is sponsoring for the Brenda Novak Online Auction. For the month of May you can bid on some cool SFR related goodies, including signed, print editions of my Project Enterpise series and some yummy soaps.
Dream Realm Award winner
When Sara Donovan joins Project Enterprise she finds out that what doesn’t kill her makes her stronger…
"From the beginning, action is non-stop and filled with suspense. Sara is more than the quintessential kick-butt heroine. She is the perfect warrior, a woman confident in her abilities in the air and on the ground, and so loyal to her country that she is willing to make personal sacrifices to ensure its safety…This sci-fi adds a nice dose of romance and a touch of humor, placing it at the top of the list for a danged good read." Midwest Book Review
Pauline Baird Jones had a tough time with reality from the get-go. After “schooling” from four, yes FOUR brothers, she knew that some people needed love and others needed shooting. Pauline figured she could do both. Romantic suspense was the logical starting point, but there were more worlds to explore, more rules to break and minds to bend. She grabbed her pocket watch and time travel device and dove through the wormhole into the world of science fiction and even some Steampunk.
Now she wanders among the genres, trying a little of this and a lot of that, rampaging through her characters' lives like Godzilla because she does love her peril (when it's not happening to her). Never fear, she gives her characters happy endings. Well, the good characters. The bad ones get justice.
Pauline released her 13th novel, Relatively Risky, in 2013. She's not superstitious about it, well, maybe a little. But the whole loving/killing thing that needs to be done? Doing it fictionally is just better for everyone. And for Pauline, who hates the thought of getting strip searched and jailed.